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Essential TradeVietnamese Women in a Changing Marketplace$
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Ann Marie Leshkowich

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780824839901

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824839901.001.0001

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Superstitious Values and Religious Subjectivity

Superstitious Values and Religious Subjectivity

Stallholders’ Spiritual Beliefs and Practices

(p.150) 6 Superstitious Values and Religious Subjectivity
Essential Trade

Ann Marie Leshkowich

University of Hawai'i Press

Along with gender, kinship, social relations, and finances, relations with the spirit world were important components of Bến Thành traders’ daily experience. As part of a broader “revival of religion” that has received much attention from officials, the media, and anthropologists, traders intoned the protection of a benevolent earth god, propitiated spirits of fortune at distant pilgrimage sites, and consulted horoscopes to determine propitious days for business. Although these spectacular practices may seem motivated by traders’ desire to secure supernatural protection from a turbulent market, their spiritual engagements were also profoundly social and constitutive of their subjectivities. Traders’ spiritual beliefs and practices helped to construct them as particular kinds of gendered, ethical persons able to engage in debates over moral and economic values, even as their behavior may also have confirmed stereotypes of them as backwardly “superstitious” (mê tín).

Keywords:   religion, superstition, gender, subjectivity, value, spirits

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